Arts and Entertainment

One minute he was a humble punter trying to peek up Debbie Harry's skirt at a Hammersmith Odeon gig, the next he was the owner of the venue which was to steal the Odeon's crown. If Simon Parkes' autobiography – full of raucous tales and Geezer-speak – is ever made into a film, it will be fun trying to find an actor who can do him justice. When he wants to sound hard, he can sometimes come across like Ray Winstone. But would Ray Winstone ever have banked at Coutts?

The lights are much brighter there

You've heard of the Philly sound, the sound of Nashville ... Pop is inextricably linked with the city. Yes, even British cities. Nick Coleman presents a guide to the music of urban Britain

Then there were two: Page and Plant got back together. Briefly. Adam Szreter witnessed the re-formation of Led Zeppelin

It was intended to be Plant and Page Unplugged. Perhaps even Plant, Page and Paul Jones Unplugged. In the end MTV settled happily for Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, mostly plugged-in and playing together at the London Weekend Television studios.

Exhibitions: Etch a falling star: David Oxtoby's drawings of rock dinosaurs are coveted by the stars themselves. Joseph Gallivan ponders their appeal

Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Otis Redding, Roger Daltrey, Elton John, Marc Bolan, even Robert Plant: you could no doubt get a tasteless charcoal drawing of any of these rock stars down at your local Athena store. So why would anyone want to pay pounds 400 for a scratchy little picture the size of a beer mat of Elton John entitled (punningly) 'Mr E Trip'? Or for a few pounds more, 'Jaggin', an etching of Mick Jagger in an orchid-covered hat?

RECORDS / New Releases: Led Zeppelin: The Complete Studio Recordings (Atlantic, 10 CDs, out tomorrow)

If you were one of the million or so people who bought the original four-disc remastered boxed set in 1990, you might be a bit unhappy about this. The temptation to sell children and pets into slavery to get your hands on it will still be considerable. Not just a mighty musical monolith but also a landmark in crazed CD opulence, this chunky box contains all nine of Led Zeppelin's studio releases, packed back to back in five spined picture books, which are stacked in a grooved rack like used lunch trays in a canteen. No strangers to conspicuous consumption in life, the band's legend is well served by such an absurdly lavish monument.

MUSIC / 'Robert Plant? I'm not a huge fan': Led Zeppelin's original tight-trousered frontman is back with a new album. Andy Gill reports

'I'M pleased with how ridiculous I am,' admits Robert Plant graciously. 'I like me.'

How We Met: Robert Plant and David Bates

David Bates, 40, was a roadie and worked as a DJ before becoming head of A&R at Phonogram Records in 1985. He signed up Tears for Fears and Wet Wet Wet, and last year persuaded Robert Plant to join the label. Robert Plant, 44, once studied chartered accountancy, made his first single at 19, and was the lead singer of Led Zeppelin from 1968 until 1980. Since then he has quashed rumours about Led Zeppelin reforming and pursued a solo career; his new album, 'Fate of Nations', is out in May. Plant lives in London and Worcestershire. He is divorced and has three children.

RECORDS / The IOS Playlist: The five best records of the moment

Schubert: Lieder. Brigitte Fassbaender (Sony, CD only). An extraordinary mezzo sings some of the best-known Goethe settings, including traditionally male ones. Michael White

ROCK / Poor Jason, frozen in fame's headlights

ALL IS quiet outside the Wembley Arena. Touts search in vain for someone to give tickets away to, and old burger cartons flap past like tumbleweeds. Things look bad for Jason Donovan. Take That have usurped his primary-school wall-chart pre-eminence, and Philip Schofield has waltzed off with his technicolor dreamcoat. But inside the auditorium, the signs are better. A fair crowd greets Jason with the noise of 10,000 seagulls in a box.

JAZZ / Boom-time blues: Phil Johnson reports on Mose Allison and the Blues Brothers at Birmingham

THE BLUES has - appropriately enough - a hard time of it trying to escape from down-home stereotypes. Whether it's lager ads on television or Robert Johnson on CD, the image persists of pain, misery and rickety Southern shacks haunted by the Devil or the repo man. A cult of the primitive has helped conceal the fact that, like country music, blues can be sophisticated too, with lyrics as witty and urbane as any Broadway show-tune. They can even be the province, as one of Mose Allison's album-titles puts it, of a middle-class white boy.
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

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